Health

Event Date: 
Thursday, October 8, 2015 - 15:00 - 19:00

 

JAMS will be presenting a seminar series at the Westmead Millennium Institute, held 3-7pm Thrusday October 8th.

Registration is free, please RVSP.
Afternoon tea and dinner with drinks will be provided.

Seminar Speakers:

Dr Cameron Webb – Plenary

Mosquito‐borne disease in Australia: emerging threats and novel solutions

Prof Shari Forbes

Profiling breath samples for detection of volatile bacterial ‘fingerprints’ in lung infections

Dr Carola Venturini

Gut microbial ecology: the side‐effects of antibiotic treatment

Dr Gurjeet Kohli

Hunt for toxin biosynthesis genes in dinoflagellates

Dr Matthew O’Sullivan

Managing healthcare workers with suspected Ebola in Sierra Leone

Connie Ha

The guts of lifestyle disease management: targeting host‐microbiome interactions for optimal intervention

Event Date: 
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 19:00 - 19:30
Institution: 
UTS
Title: 

“On the value of reframing antibiotic resistance as a disaster risk problem”

Abstract: 

Dr. Maurizio Labbate1,2 & A/Prof. Dale Dominey-Howes3

1School of Medical and Molecular Biosciences, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.
2The ithree Institute, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.
3Asia – Pacific Natural Hazards Research Group, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, Australia.

Abstract:

On the 1st May 2014 the World Health Organization in its first global assessment of antimicrobial resistance reported that antibiotic resistance has now reached alarming proportions and is no longer a future problem but a contemporary reality. This comes off the back of other urgent calls from leading authorities including the Deputy Director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) who has publicly stated that we have now reached the “end of the antibiotic era” and the UK Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies who called for antibiotic resistance to be placed on the risk register above the issue of terrorism. Increasingly, the tone of the language used by these organizations and individuals is reminiscent of that used by the disaster and emergency risk management communities to describe commonly occurring disasters such as earthquakes, fires, floods and storms.

Antibiotic resistant infections are rising fast and affect millions of people globally. Antibiotic resistance has become a slow onset disaster that like climate change has struggled to elicit the sort of coordinated international response that is required to deal with the magnitude of the emergency. Anthropogenic modification of the Earth’s climate system provides the foundation for sudden onset natural disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires and storms. Likewise, increasingly widespread antibiotic resistance is laying the foundation for the future occurrence of sudden onset bacterial epidemic and pandemic disasters.

Despite the finest efforts by medical and health policy makers and communities to control the antibiotic resistance problem, the issue has reached a critical tipping point. Given the current state of the antibiotic resistance problem and the likely near future of untreatable bacterial infections, we propose an alternative and novel policy perspective. With this is mind, we propose to make antibiotic a broader issue and reframe it as a disaster risk problem and engage the expertise of emergency managers. Governments and disaster policy makers across the world use the Emergency Risk Management process in the management of and preparation for natural disasters. This process is a systematic method that through engagement with multiple stakeholders identifies, analyses, evaluates and treats risks and takes an iterative approach with well-defined activities that lead to implementation of risk-treatment strategies tailored to a specific community’s risk profile. This policy and practice framework is an excellent mechanism for reaching out to communities and communicating complex messages – an area that needs to be enhanced.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 15:45 - 16:15
Institution: 
University of Perugia, Italy
Title: 

The intricate cross-talk of the microbiome in Resistance and Tolerance to pathogens

Abstract: 

The diverse microbial population characterizing the human host represents the result of different complex scenarios impacting the human microbiome assembly. The variety of the microbial species involved plays an important role on the human health by affecting the tissue differentiation, the modulation of the immune system as well as the general response against infectious pathogens, which has been recently revised and divided into two different strategies named Resistance and Tolerance. Resistance being the strategy where the host protects himself by reducing the pathogen load whereby the Tolerance being the opposite strategy, which consists in tolerating the pathogen to avoid tissue damage due to the occurrence of subsequent inflammatory pathologies. The host microbiome seems to play a crucial role in determining which strategy the host will exploit to avoid infection. We recently found that highly adaptive lactobacilli, switching from sugar to Tryptophan (Trp) as an energy source  are expanded and produce an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) ligand—indole-3-aldehyde—that contributes to AhR-dependent IL-22 transcription, which then trigger the release of antimicrobial peptides by the gut epithelium. Importantly, innate lymphocytes IL-22 producers were already described as a typical innate Resistance strategy to protect the host from intragastrical Candida albicans infections in mice. Thus, the resulting IL-22-dependent balanced mucosal response allows for survival of mixed microbial communities yet provides colonization resistance to the fungus Candida albicans. Therefore, the microbiota-AhR axis might represent an important strategy pursued by co-evolutive commensalism for fine-tuning host mucosal reactivity contingent on Trp catabolism.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 18:15 - 18:30
Institution: 
USyd
Title: 

Norovirus Sydney 2012: The chunder from down under

Abstract: 

Norovirus is the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis globally with the primary symptoms of infection including vomiting and diarrhea. Typical of most single stranded RNA viruses, norovirus demonstrates a broad genetic diversity and can infect a wide range of mammalian hosts; however, the majority of human infections are caused by variants of a single genetic lineage – GII.4. The molecular epidemiology of the norovirus GII.4 lineage has been characterised by a continual turnover of novel variants that often precede large global epidemics. The emergence and evolution of these novel GII.4 variants has been attributed to rapid evolution and antigenic variation in response to herd immunity as well as frequent recombination between circulating strains. In this presentation, I will reflect on the recent molecular epidemiology of norovirus infections in Australia and globally, and then discuss the significant impact and origins of a recently emerged GII.4 virus, known as Sydney 2012, that has grabbed headlines across the globe (for the wrong reasons).

Event Date: 
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 19:00 - 20:00
Institution: 
USyd
Title: 

How microbial community structure is shaped

Abstract: 

 
Microbes profoundly influence biological systems. Owing to their small individual size, but extremely large populations, their influence is typically an emergent property of the microbial community.  As such understanding how microbial community structure is shaped is a generic question relevant to almost all biological systems.
A major focus of my research is the interplay between diet, gut microbiota and health. Our health is the product of interplay between many different factors with arguably three of the most important being adequate nutrition, homeostatic regulation and exclusion of foreign cells. Gut functions influence all these, but occur in the immediate proximity of a huge community of microorganisms – our gut microbiome. The gut microbiome profoundly effects our health via its contribution to and influence on gut functions.
Arguably the most significant aspect of our gut microbiome is that differences in composition matter. The contribution of our microbiome to nutrition, metabolism, gut and immune functions varies from person-to-person. Thus the clinical manifestation of many diseases will be influenced by the individual’s microbiome. Secondly, environmental or lifestyle differences such as diet and hygiene may modulate microbiome composition and thus its influence on health. This gives rise to two basic opportunities for improving healthcare. These are, using the microbiome as a metric to improve diagnosis and targeting the microbiome for therapeutic intervention. We are specifically exploring forces that shape microbial community structure in mouse and human models of with a view to developing diagnostic and intervention strategies across a range of health issues. 

Event Date: 
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 18:15 - 18:30
Institution: 
Macquarie University
Title: 

Dissemination of antibiotic resistance determinants via sewage discharge from Davis Station, Antarctica

Abstract: 

Discharge of untreated or macerated sewage presents a significant risk to Antarctic marine ecosystems by introducing non-native microorganisms that potentially impact microbial communities and threaten health of Antarctic wildlife. Despite these risks, disposal of essentially untreated sewage continues in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic. As part of an environmental impact assessment of the Davis Station, we investigated carriage of antibiotic resistance determinants in Escherichia coli isolates from marine water and sediments, marine invertebrates (Laturnula and Abatus), birds and mammals within 10 km of the Davis sewage outfall. Class 1 integrons typical of human pathogens and commensals were detected in 12% of E. coli isolates. E. coli carrying these integrons were primarily isolated from the near shore marine water column and the filter feeding mollusc Laturnula. Class 1 integrons were not detected in E. coli isolated from seal (Miroungaleonina, Leptonychotes weddellii) or penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) feces. However, isolation of E. coli from these vertebrates’ faeces was also low. Consequently, sewage disposal is introducing non-native microorganisms and associated resistance genes into the Antarctic environment. The impact of this “gene pollution” on the diversity and evolution of native Antarctic microbial communities is unknown. 

 

Event Date: 
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 18:00 - 18:15
Institution: 
University Technology Sydney
Title: 

Development of an electrochemical biosensor for bacteria detection coupling immuno-capture with magnetic particles and amperometry at flow-channel microband electrodes.

Abstract: 

 
Current technology is insufficient for rapid on-site identification of the causative agents for waterborne diseases and existing time-consuming detection results in delayed management decisions. Fast, reliable and low-cost methods for the screening of pathogens are paramount in fields such as the environment, food industry, healthcare and defense. With the constant progress of scientific knowledge, a fast diversification of detection techniques is occurring, brought about by the appearance of imaginative new concepts within the scientific community. Biosensors are a perfect example of the combination of multidisciplinary knowledge. They encompass many fundamental, technological and scientific advances in biology, chemistry and physics.
Here, we describe a recently developed electrochemical biosensor for the detection of bacteria cells in aqueous samples. The technology used for this detection combines immuno-magnetic capture and amperometric detection in a one-step sandwich format, and in a microfluidic environment. The whole assay could be completed in 1 h and the experiments performed with Escherichia coli evidenced a linear response for concentrations ranging 102–108 cell ml−1.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 18:00 - 18:30
Institution: 
University of Sydney
Title: 

A tale of two clones; multiple antibiotic resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii .

Abstract: 

The importance of Acinetobacter baumannii in causing nosocomial infections was only recognised in the mid 1980s, making it the least studied of the bacteria that are now resistant to most of the antibiotics that are most important for treatment of such infections. We assembled a large collection of A. baumannii isolates recovered between 1999 and 2011 at hospitals in Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, Newcastle and Adelaide. All but a few of those that are resistant to multiple antibiotics belong to one of two clonal groups that have recently been found to be globally distributed. Hence, these clones, global clone 1 and 2, have been in Australia at least since the mid 1990s.
Representatives of hospitals and of groups with different carbapenem and aminoglycoside resistance patterns in our collection have been sequenced together with the GC1 and GC2 reference strains from the early 1980s. Trees based on single nucleotide polymorphisms reveal significant diversity in the Australian isolates from one clone and little in the other. Most of the genes conferring resistance to older antibiotics are in the chromosome clustered in one island in GC1 and two in GC2 isolates. However, each of these islands is continually evolving, losing and gaining resistance genes. Further variation arises from the acquisition of different plasmids carrying further resistance genes. Other major but unexpected differences arising within the clones affect the exopolysaccharides. The capsule is an important virulence determinant, and substitution of large chromosomal segments leads to many distinct loci for capsule biosynthesis in each clone.

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